The Tokyo Reporter

Japan’s AV biz to thrive under TPP

Shukan Asahi Geino Apr. 4
If Japan enters the tariff-eliminating Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the nation’s porn industry may thrive, reports weekly tabloid Shukan Asahi Geino (Apr. 4).

Under the pact, the magazine believes that adult video (AV) productions from the U.S. and Japan will be have to compete against one another like never before, much like agricultural products and automobiles.

Takashi Kadokura is the author of the 2007 book “Why the World’s Below-the-Belt Businesses Are Lucrative,” which provides an outline for the breadth of Japan’s sex industry.

Kadokura, who is also the head of an economic research center, tells Shukan Asahi Geino that Japan has an edge over the U.S. in the porn market, with exports likely to outweigh imports under the TPP.

In evaluating the output of the two countries, the author says each nation has its own style.

“In porn films from the U.S., there are no stories,” says Kadokura. “The heart of each film is the deed itself. However, for Japan, the story is the focus, and the films are often regarded as works of art.”

The key advantage for Japan will be the current popularity enjoyed by baby-faced and young actresses around the world.

“There is an especially strong need (for young actresses) in countries with Caucasians,” says Kadokura. “Japan satisfies this criteria, and I think demand for these films will be high.”

It should be noted that such a position is contrary to that of Shukan Taishu (Mar. 25), which raised concerns about Japanese films being cited under U.S. child pornography laws since the actresses often appear to be under 18 years of age — a consideration that Shukan Asahi Geino ignores.

Indeed, Japanese AV is already available in U.S. However, the gargantuan size of the market could be ripe for expansion.

“In the U.S., consumers tend to pay for porn in hotel rooms as opposed to purchasing DVDs,” says Kadokura. “Thus far, Japanese AV does not participate in this market to a large degree. However, (under the TPP) that may change. This would lead to a boost in copyright fees paid to Japanese AV producers.”

For the reverse, Japan’s use of the infamous mosaic — the obfuscation of parts of images that would otherwise reveal genitalia — poses a substantial problem for U.S. porn passing through Japan Customs.

The issue relates to censorship laws. Article 175 of Japan’s Penal Code prohibits the distribution, sale, or public display of obscene writings, pictures, or other materials.

AV critic TDC Fujiki says that the mosaic requirement could be lifted if the U.S. made the request, much like concessions that might be made in the automobile industry. But with violators presently facing a maximum prison term of two years and minimum fine of 2.5 million yen Shukan Asahi Geino is not sanguine that a modification will be made.

The censorship dates back to a court ruling handed down in 1955. Fujiki argues that since the definition of what is obscene is vague a change may be possible. “There is no basis or concrete foundation,” he says. “In that case, why would there be a need to protect such a position?” (K.N.)

Source: “TPP de Japan adaruto ga poruno Amerika tatakitsubusu!” Shukan Asahi Geino (Apr. 4, pages 196-198)

Note: Brief extracts from Japanese vernacular media in the public domain that appear here were translated and summarized under the principle of “fair use.” Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy of the translations. However, we are not responsible for the veracity of their contents. The activities of individuals described herein should not be construed as “typical” behavior of Japanese people nor reflect the intention to portray the country in a negative manner. Our sole aim is to provide examples of various types of reading matter enjoyed by Japanese.

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